TALLAHASSEE, FL — To help Florida residents better prepare for the 2007 hurricane season, mobile phone batteries and chargers will be available tax-free during the state's hurricane preparation sales tax holiday, June 1 to June12.
In addition, Verizon Wireless is offering a 25 percent discount on those and other accessories in each of its company-owned stores as well as in Circuit City and BJ's Wholesale Clubs locations where Verizon Wireless products are sold in Florida, giving residents the opportunity to save money while avoiding the last-minute rush for essential items.
"Floridians know from experience just how important wireless communication can be during hurricane season, so we believe this measure is essential," said Pam Tope, Florida region president for Verizon Wireless. "Proper planning is critical to staying safe, and we urge residents to include emergency communication plans in their hurricane preparations."
Experience in past hurricane seasons demonstrated that residents with extra, fully charged cellphone batteries and those who used cellphone chargers that plug into automobile cigarette lighters or power outlets were better able to communicate and even conduct business using laptops with mobile connectivity after hurricanes struck and public power was knocked out for extended periods.
Other communication tips for residents during storms and other times of crisis include:
- Keep phones, batteries, chargers and other equipment in a dry, accessible location.
- Forward your home phone calls to your wireless number if you will be away from your home or have to evacuate.
- Maintain a list of emergency phone numbers police, fire and rescue agencies; power companies; insurance providers; family, friends and co-workers; etc. and program them into your wireless phone.
The Verizon Wireless network in Florida withstood the impact of eight hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 while other communication networks were often adversely affected. In Florida, about 80 percent of all Verizon Wireless sites have their own back-up generator in addition to battery power to keep the network running even when the power supply is interrupted.
Network preparation efforts undertaken by Verizon Wireless include:
- The Verizon Wireless network is built for reliability in emergencies, with battery back-up power at all facilities, as well as generators installed at all switching facilities and many cell site locations. This capability is critical when power goes out and if roads are impassable in the wake of a storm.
- The company has a fleet of Cells on Wheels (COWs) and Cells on Light Trucks (COLTs), which are self-powered transmitters that can be rolled into hard-hit locations or areas that need extra network capacity. Network teams also have hundreds of generators ready to go to further strengthen the network.
- Verizon Wireless is fully prepared to again quickly set up wireless emergency communication centers (WECCs) to serve residents and rescue agencies in the area(s) in the greatest need.
- The company has developed and practiced a comprehensive emergency response plan, including preparing emergency command centers in the case of a storm or crisis.
This and other network-strengthening efforts are part of an ongoing investment that now exceeds $1.5 billion in Florida alone over the past seven years. Nationally, Verizon Wireless has spent more than $37 billion during that time to build and strengthen its digital wireless network.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation's most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 60.7 million customers. The largest US wireless company and largest wireless data provider, based on revenues, Verizon Wireless is headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 66,000 employees nationwide. The company is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.